Page 7

Perfect Love Story (Love 1) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:48:39

“Baby,” my father says, that word sending shivers down my back after seeing it on Eric’s “other” phone. “There is nothing you can do. If anything, they will say you were his mistress.” His words are a slap in my face, freezing me in place. “Or the other woman. You have no claim to him.”

“How can you say that to me?” My hands come down slowly from my ears. “I have all the claim in the world to him. He died here. Here in my fucking car. In my fucking town. He is mine.” The sadness is gone, replaced by the anger pouring out of me.

“NO!” I yell as I grab a picture of us from the side table. We took it the day after Christmas when he finally made it back home. I hold the frame to my chest, squeezing it so hard, my fingers turn white. “I won’t let them.”

“Honey,” my father says, “you have gone through so much in such a short time. How about you just rest, and we will figure it out in the morning? We will take a step back and see what needs to be done.” At that moment, someone knocks on the door. Blake stands to walk to the door, and when he opens it, we all gasp.

“Eric?” I stammer out as I take in the man at my door. This stranger looks exactly like my husband.

“No. My name is Elliot,” the man says as I walk to the door. He takes me in as I get closer and closer to him.

[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======

My eyes never leave his as I reach out to touch his face. “Eric,” I whisper, not believing what I’m seeing.

He looks down as my hand falls from his face. “I’m Eric’s older brother, Elliot. This is his younger brother, Ethan.” He motions to the man standing beside him who I didn’t even notice. “Um, sorry to barge in on you all, but …” He looks down at his feet, putting his hands in his pockets before he looks back up. He takes a deep breath before finishing. “We are here for his things.”

“His things?” I ask confused, looking from one face to the next.

“What things?” Blake comes to stand beside me. “Are you fucking kidding me right now?” he growls.

“Listen.” Ethan puts his hands out as if he means no harm. “This is a difficult time for us all right now, but we need his wallet and hospital paperwork.” He looks down at the floor again, unable to meet my eyes. “I don’t know what my brother was doing or what he was thinking, but right now, our main concern is the two little girls he left behind. The two little girls who are without their father. And left with more questions than answers. That is our only concern right now.”

“He said he was an orphan.” I start telling them as my fingers hold the picture closer to my chest. “That he had no siblings. No parents. Nothing.” I look at Elliot. So much like Eric, yet so different. “We got married six months ago.” I look down as I feel the strength come over me. “Our entire life together is a lie. Was a lie. Everything I thought was real was, well, not.” I shake my head and walk away from them to the kitchen. Grabbing the brown bag that held all his secrets and lies, I shove the watch and the wallet back inside with more force than necessary. Next, I drop in the phone he apparently used only for me. To continue his life of secrets and lies. But I don’t care. I’m pissed. It’s a lot easier to feel angry than to allow all the other emotions I’m feeling to bubble over the surface. I stomp back to the living room and start gathering everything that belongs to Eric. I grab his baseball hat, sweater, blanket, and the book he’s been reading and toss it at the other brother, Ethan.

“That’s all you’re getting from me. This is all I will give you. You want something else? You’re shit out of luck because I have nothing left to give you. Or you could sue me for it. That should be fun for everyone. Sue the other woman for everything she has left of her dead fake husband.” I toss my head back, laughing.

“Jesus. Can you imagine.” I catch their eyes before looking at Crystal. “Lies,” I spit out. I can’t stop laughing. Or crying. I’m not even sure. “We were going to try for a baby.” I put the palms of my hands on my knees. “He wanted to see me carrying his baby.” I look back at his brothers, and I can’t tell if they feel sorry for me or just think their brother conned a crazy woman. “Maybe he got me confused with the other wife. I mean, I’m not sure how these things go. I’ve never lived two lives before. But I could see how someone would get confused.”